Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My new phone

Remember when a phone was the black bakelite tellingbone on the wall?

Not any more, of course, now its everything.

I loaded up my new phone this week and am happy to report that the ESV app works fine as does the OliveTree Bible Study app.

I'm therefore tres pleased.

Couldn't do that on the bakelite number.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Talk about it #2

This session of conversational evangelism was the last I'll attend, unfortunately, but it was a goodie.

I can only wish that I'd experienced this training about 45 years ago: my high school years and early adult years would have been without the spiritual pressure to 'witness' on the harangue method that was then current in evangelical churches.

This is the proper way, starting with 'earning the permission to speak' by being a genuine friend, acquaintance or even conversationalist. Then a simple 45 second opening: what being in Christ means to me and without any church or theological terminology.

Then it goes from there. Of course my previous post about what detractors might say and to deal with genuine questions remains important, but to break the ice in a calm and non-confrontational atmosphere is of the utmost importance.

Practice in this at youth group would have been very helpful too. Still would be these days.

The $1000 pencil case

Warning: don’t go to sermons for economics.

Last Sunday we were told that markets are fictions and impliedly operate on the principle of personal greed: Adam Smith’s invisible hand was cited in justification of the claim. It was explained that the invisible hand was everyone acting by their own greed to produce the common good.

Not so, of course.

1. The Market is the aggregation of all occasions of transactions between willing sellers and willing buyers, both with full relevant information. Thus is established a fair price for the exchange, with both sides happy. Competition between suppliers on the one hand and between purchasers on the other ensures that purchasers pay no more than necessary and suppliers receive no less than they require. In the aggregate this establishes a fair price for both parties and sees scarce resources applied to real need fairly (to the extent that markets work, for which we need laws, of course), and 'economically'.

2. The corollary of the market is that by each person pursuing their own interest (and therefore not the interest of the other party) they all together, in the aggregate, create the best outcome for the common good.

This is why we don’t have to pay $1000 for a pencil case, and cars don’t cost $1.50. Otherwise no one could buy pencil cases, and no one would make cars.

Friday, June 8, 2018

What is church?

Notes I scribbled in a conference that had nothing to do with Christian faith (it was to do with my work)

Church goes well = a taste of heaven....ie, where God is.

Church goes bad = can be a taste of hell...ie, where God is not.

How does one contribute to the former?

1. the fruit of the Spirit, and

2. as a result, put service before honour.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Training for talking

We are doing a course in conversational evangelism.

Sounds good.

And there's been some good stuff: mention about listening, for instance. But in that session, most of our time was taken with the beatitudes as a basis for behaviour.

I'm not quite sure where that would take us (next session we are talking about our 'testimony') but am wary that starting with behaviour (although our behaviour should represent our faith) could take us to the thin ice of 'rules for living' as though being Christian is about 'doing the right thing', rather than our 'doing' being consequential upon our regeneration.

Being able to converse about one's faith is clearly a good thing; however, I'm not sure that this course equips in terms of Peter's injunction to ''give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence" in 1 Peter 3:15, "always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks..."

In conversation one has to be able to deploy reasons, meet objections and answer questions. A course on converational evangelism needs to be able to guide its students in these terms. We know what most questions are, we know what most objections are; so skilling people in these should be no problem.

But underpinning this is knowledge: we have lost traditions of new Christians being instructed in the faith, and just turning up to church to hear sermons aint' it. Nor is the haphazard approach of most Bible Study groups.

Basic instruction in the Bible, Christian history, belief and practice, and 'conversational apologetics' is needed. An organised curriculum for children through to end of high school age is also needed to ensure younger Christians are confident in their ability to talk about their faith and its implications for life, thought and practice with substance.

Encouragement of reading both the Bible and Christian literature is part of this. Refer to the 'special posts' on the right of this screen for some ideas.

A course such as we are doing is OK, but it would be more OK if it was built on the foundations I've sketched.

Oh, and don't just tell people to 'listen'. Include participatory exercises, particularly emphasising not listening to answer, but listening to understand.

Friday, June 1, 2018

We've missed one third!

I picked up a flyer from BaptistCare today. It listed the 'service highlights', including for domestic violence:

On a proportional basis of DV victims, a lot of services are missing: where are the 80-odd men who attended support group programs, and the 35-odd women who completed behaviour support?

What about the 35-odd men and children assisted with housing?

Not there, are they. This is not addressing the real problem, which I would expect a Christian organisation to do!

This is not truthfully dealing with the real-world suffering of both men and women, but the political smoke-screen of marxist-feminist rhetoric that would propagandise us to its anti-male rancour.

"Care you can trust", or "Care you can't quite trust"? Seems like the latter to me.